MIT is committed to creating and maintaining a culturally and racially diverse environment, but this diversity is hollow unless the individuals that comprise MIT can communicate with each other. The Committee on Race and Diversity's job is to ensure effective communication across all groups, demonstrating MIT's high-level recognition that numerical diversity is necessary, but not sufficient, for a vital campus.
The Institute Community Equity Officer sponsors the Committee on Race and Diversity (CRD). The Committee’s membership represents all segments of the MIT community – faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and post docs. As a working and advisory group focused on enhancing an equitable and inclusive environment, it is essential to create shared understanding of what we mean by diversity, equity and inclusion. In an attempt to ensure transparency and clarity, members of CRD have developed the following definitions:
Diversity is the sum of social, cultural, and identity-based human attributes represented within a group. These include but are not limited to the following:
- educational background
- gender expression
- gender identity
- geographical location
- immigration status
- marital status
- national origin
- parental status
- political views
- religious status
- sexual orientation
- work experiences
Such categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid. Further, we respect the individual right of self-identification.
Equity is access to opportunity and advancement for all members of a group. Equity is distinct from equality and fairness. Equitable environments address disparities and strive to eliminate unique and systemic barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized groups. Such environments are free from discrimination, harassment and bias.
Equity cannot be achieved without the foundation of diversity and the actions of inclusion. The three are intimately linked and necessary for a full realization of the potential of any group and organization. Each is in relation to individuals, small and large groups, informal and formal collectives, organizations and institutions. The three are also in constant flux as society and the academy discovers and learns from our history and our complex present. Definitions will continue to evolve while the motivation for a just and humane society will remain unchanged.
Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which all members of a group are welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. Such actions involve intentional and ongoing engagement with the diversity in and across various social, cultural, and intellectual groups. Inclusive environments increase productivity, awareness, knowledge, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within groups.
Inclusion is distinct from belonging and strives for belonging. Belonging is the sense that you can bring your full and authentic self to a group.